What Jim Bakker Can Teach Evangelicals Today, My Review of John Wigger’s “PTL”

The Gospel Coalition posted my review of John Wigger’s new biography of infamous televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. Here’s an excerpt, but do click through to read the whole thing.

The Bakkers proved adept at growing their audience. It was hard not to watch just to see what crazy stunt they might pull next, like when a live camel visited the set (and promptly peed all over the stage) or the time that Tammy Faye hosted the show from a merry-go-round (53). But their fundraising method of choice was the telethon, hours of increasingly desperate appeals for donations. “We need $10,000 a month or we’ll be off the air. Listen people, it’s all over. Everything’s gone. Christian television will be no more” (28). In contrast to the hyperbole, PTL grew by leaps and bounds, airing on hundreds of affiliate stations and in as many as 13 million homes by the mid-1980s.

2 thoughts on “What Jim Bakker Can Teach Evangelicals Today, My Review of John Wigger’s “PTL”

  1. Correction: Jim Bakker didn’t have affairs with multiple women at PTL. Men, yes, but not women. His one and only affair with a woman was Jessica Hahn.

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